Jared Leto's Lawyer Sends Ridiculously Bogus Cease & Desist, Calling Lots Of Attention To Statements About Him

from the how-not-to-do-things dept

You would think, by now, at least the big time lawyers would recognize that bogus defamation threats and demands for takedowns would only lead to more attention. And that should be especially true for Martin Singer, who proudly promotes the claim that he's a "pit bull" of a lawyer for a variety of Hollywood stars. Given his clientele, you'd think he and his firm, Lavely & Singer, would be especially careful about not making totally bogus threats that are actually likely to backfire and call extra attention to whatever it is they're trying to hide. But, apparently with all his Hollywood connections, Singer and his staff have not yet learned about the Streisand Effect.

Paul Levy at Public Citizen alerts us to how a lawyer working for Lavely & singer, Allison Hart, has sent a ridiculous cease & desist notice to the website Lipstick Alley on behalf of actor/musician Jared Leto because some people in Lipstick Alley's forums made some comments about Leto in forums like this one and this one.

Almost everything in the threat letter is questionable or wrong -- beginning at the very top where it says "Confidential Legal Notice. Publication or Dissemination is Prohibited."
Second big problem: the comments are from 2013. California's statute of limitations on defamation is 1 year. You would think that a hotshot lawyer would know that. Next big problem: Section 230 of the CDA. These are all comments from users, and the site is not liable for them. Again: this is the kind of thing the lawyer is supposed to know. But, I guess, when the idea is to intimidate, you don't really care what the law actually says. There are lots of other problems with the letter as well, but rather than let me tell you what they are, I'll hand it over to Paul Levy, who is representing Lipstick Alley and (as he's been known to do) sent an absolute masterpiece of a response letter back to Hart. Here's just a snippet, but really, read the whole thing:
Having reviewed the posts that you have identified, I conclude that you do not have any non-frivolous defamation against any of the posters.

Some of the posts of which you object do not appear to me to be defamatory. Two of the posts simply mention claims found elsewhere in the Internet that your client has a large penis. It is hard to see how those statements would hurt your client's reputation, even if they are false. It is, as I understand it, the accusation of having a small penis that is understood to be an insult.

Other posts about Leto's allegedly rough and inconsiderate behavior during alleged sexual encounters with fans, and about the age of one of the fans, might well have been defamatory when originally posted, assuming that they are false. I recognize that your letter claims that the statements are false. I assume that you do not have personal knowledge about the size of Leto's penis or about whether he is rough with sexual partners, and you do not cite any evidence supporting your claim of falsity. Moreover, the mere fact that a denial comes in a demand letter from a lawyer at Lavely & Singer means that it has no probative value, considering the number of times your firm has sent demand letters claiming that Bill Cosby did not mistreat his fans by using drugs to facilitate sexual conquests. If you have in mind to proceed on the claims about Leto, you will need to file a lawsuit (subject to California's anti-SLAPP statute, of course), and in support of a subpoena present an affidavit from Leto himself addressing the factual assertions in the posts. The affidavit will, no doubt, make for interesting reading.

Moreover, none of the posters on Lipstick Alley claims to have personal knowledge about Leto's conduct during sex with his fans (or about the size of his penis); some simply express their views about what they have read elsewhere, and some have reposted comments from other web sites that purport to reflect first-person descriptions of activities in which the original writers claim to have been involved. Your demand letter mentions that at least one of the linked-to posts has been deleted from the original site, and you seem to suggest that the removal of various posts in response to demand letters from your client supports your assertion that the posts are false. But at most, it only shows that the individuals whom your client threatened decided that the issue was not worth litigating. Lipstick Alley, however, stands up for the First Amendment right of its users to comment on celebrities, and to make those comments anonymously, unless their statements have been proved false and defamatory. It does not remove posts simply because a wealthy actor is able to hire a law firm to send threatening letters.
There's a lot more in the letter (which is four pages long) that is well worth reading -- including his discussion of the "publication or dissemination is prohibited" line in the letter. And, of course, now this discussion about Leto from two years ago, which these lawyers were trying to hide, suddenly gets more attention.

If I were Jared Leto, I might consider getting better lawyers.



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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:19am

    Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

    But the real payload of this piece is to mention "Streisand Effect". Let's see... Who claims to have invented that appellation for the long-known drawbacks to lawsuits? ... Hmm. The name eludes me at the moment. I'm sure whoever doesn't regard the term as proprietary with credit due, though. -- The writer, on other hand, boldly puts his name up as if he created and owns the content.

    By the way, who is Jared Lota? You're publicizing him to people who otherwise didn't know even the name, so perhaps such publicity is the purpose of the letter: one theory is that all publicity is good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:20am

    Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

    But the real payload of this piece is to mention "Streisand Effect". Let's see... Who claims to have invented that appellation for the long-known drawbacks to lawsuits? ... Hmm. The name eludes me at the moment. I'm sure whoever doesn't regard the term as proprietary with credit due, though. -- The writer, on other hand, boldly puts his name up as if he created and owns the content.

    By the way, who is Jared Lota? You're publicizing him to people who otherwise didn't know even the name, so perhaps such publicity is the purpose of the letter: one theory is that all publicity is good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:39am

      Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

      Are you kidding that you don't know who Jared Leto is? There is this great tool -- that you might or might not have heard of -- called "google". You should try it before responding.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

        I dont know who he is either. It is irrelevant to the story.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

          Of course we all now know he is a big dick (as apposed to having a big dick).

          Other than that, who cares.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Craig Welch (profile), 7 Aug 2015 @ 8:22am

        Who is Jared Leto?

        I also do no know who Jared Leto is. Until I read of his (alleged) penis I did not even know of the person's gender. Why should I bother searching for that information? As did the other poster, I simply mention my lack of knowledge to suggest that the person is not very famous, or if so, is famous only in the US. In such cases, it's useful for an article author to add a line or too to explain. Not because I particularly want to know (I still don't).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:47am

      Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

      "Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire."
      _____________________

      The problem is SOME lawyers and SOME clients. You don't hear about my clients because (i) I would not counsel them to undertake this sort of action and (ii) I would not pursue such an action anyway. I tell clients "no" all the time. That's the advice for which they're paying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stoatwblr (profile), 16 Aug 2015 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

        "The problem is SOME lawyers and SOME clients."

        It is a pity that lawyers such as yourself (I assume you're a lawyer, apologies if not) don't file more complaints with the local bar association over ambulance chasers.

        The profession is supposed to be self-policing, yet there appears to be precious little of that going on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      farooge (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 4:58pm

      Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

      >>But the real payload of this piece is to mention "Streisand Effect".

      OMG, you figured him out.

      I'd call it 'making a living', jackass.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 5:57pm

      Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

      "By the way, who is Jared Lota? You're publicizing him to people who otherwise didn't know even the name..."

      Why would you leap to such an inane assumption? A lot of people with an interest in modern rock music and/or movies will recognize him. Your own ignorance doesn't undermine the article one bit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:31pm

      Re:

      The same cockroaches you hire to enforce your precious, precious copyrights against thieving grandmothers.

      You really do not think anything through, do you, you little wankstain?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:44pm

      Re: Yet again, problem is simply lawyers, the cockroaches of civilization. They'll do anything for hire.

      But the real payload of this piece is to mention "Streisand Effect"

      Jealous much... again?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    coward (anon), 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:30am

    Penis size

    Anyone who wants to post comments about my enormous penis is welcome to do so. Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Colin Samuels (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:38am

    Greatest. Lawyers. Ever.

    So this firm has circulated a silly C&D letter, thereby drawing attention to comments alleging that their client has a large penis? Brilliant. How many men would pay the sort of fees which Lavely demand to spread such a rumor?

    The bigger challenge is, frankly, giving them something to leverage. They say that your first million dollars are the hardest to earn; harder still (heh) is your first large penis rumor posted to an online gossip site. Once he has that, nearly any guy can sign-on Lavely to spread the rumor and thereby commence the Jared-Letoesque phase of his existence.

    If only all high-priced firms accomplished as much for their clients.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Travis, 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re: Greatest. Lawyers. Ever.

      Remember, the lawyers are saying that those comments are false and defamatory. I think I'd be firing these guys if I were Leto.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:39am

    My Thoughts Exactly -

    (a) Any publicity is good publicity (unless you are Bill Cosby). Jared gets his name in the news...

    (b) All on-going discussion will mention that he has a big penis. Mission accomplished.

    Jared pays his lawyers extra so they appear incompetent to his benefit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:43am

    Statute of limitations

    2013? They certainly should have thought twice before dragging their feet like that. Their feet. Hope I got that right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    A Non-Mouse, 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:55am

    Law firm? Really??

    Are we absolutely certain that Lavely & Singer isn't a PR firm? If not, they should be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Paul Alan Levy (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 10:57am

    Does Singer know about the Streisand Effect?

    After I posted my piece, I had an interesting exchange with a reporter in Singer's home town (I leave the name out because I am not sure I have permission to use it) who said that when Singer was asked recently about the Streisand Effect, he said he knew about it and takes it into account when sending demand letters. Not clear, though, whether Singer goes over these risks with his clients, or whether other lawyers in his firm are similarly attentive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:00am

      Re: Does Singer know about the Streisand Effect?

      Or they cosider it an advantage to the goals of their clients, which probably isn't justice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      aerilus, 6 Aug 2015 @ 4:08pm

      Re: Does Singer know about the Streisand Effect?

      or he just puts a notice on his letters that says their confidential......

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:30am

    If I were Jared Leto, I might consider getting better lawyers.

    Or better still, just fire all the lawyers and start connecting to fans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 1:55pm

      Re: If I were Jared Leto, I might consider getting better lawyers.

      Or better still, just fire all the lawyers and start connecting to fans.


      Isn't that what this demand letter was about? Some internet comments about how he - ahem - "connected" with some of his fans...?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2015 @ 8:27pm

        Re: Re: If I were Jared Leto, I might consider getting better lawyers.

        If I were Jared Leto I would be suing Singer for gross incompetence.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:31am

    What's the difference...

    So, what is the difference between a lawyer and a pile of bull poop? The poop smells better, and costs less? :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    REM(RND) (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:42am

    Streisand Rating: 4/10

    Made me actually Google "Jared Leto" to see who he was. Stopped reading after seeing "My So-Called Life".

    Perhaps his lawyer is more shrewd than you give him credit for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 6 Aug 2015 @ 11:52am

    Lawyers don't care ...

    Leto's lawyers got more billable hours from this. That's all they care about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LA Citizen 101, 6 Aug 2015 @ 12:04pm

    Terrorized by Lavley & Singer Attorney

    I have been harassed, stalked, hacked and had a tracking device placed under my car with it's systematically damaged (int. & ext.) to nearly $10,000 - essentially terrorized by Michael Buchanan and Randy Mehringer since 2011, who were hired by Henry L. Self III of Lavely & Singer.

    Let's not for get that Martin Dori Singer pledge his undying respect and loyalty to Anthony Pellicano! Buchanan and Mehringer are Singer's new Pellicano.

    Listen for yourself: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-hope-weiner/pellicano-trial-audio-exc_b_95949.html

    Buchanan is from infamous Rampart scandal and Mehringer, who lost a job due to being profiled as an anti-Semitic. Per the LA Times, Buchanan is also stabbed someone and committed forgery.

    http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site200/2006/0711/20060711_054805_SCORECARD.pdf

    http://ar ticles.latimes.com/keyword/michael-buchanan

    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-02-04/news/mn-32283_1_ra cial-joke

    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-02-06/local/me-32926_1_racial-joke

    Even better, Buchanan continues to work as a "PI" even though he was on "Probation" and his "Private Investigator License No. PI 24849" and his "Firearm Permit No. FQ 255230" were pulled by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the State of California on August, 7, 2012!
    http://www.bsis.ca.gov/public/pi_24849_2013_04_25_dec.PDF

    These men had me on the verge of suicide. I had to leave my country while Self, Buchanan and Mehringer roam the streets of Hollywood.

    Henry, when you passed the bar did your mother say, "Go forth son, conspire with criminals, because like attracts like, and terrorize women to the brink of suicide? If so, they you must have one proud mama. Buchanan and Mehringer were born of jackals so they have no excuse.

    Don't worry Henry, if I go, I will not be going quietly. Every video, license plate, image, witness testimony, police report and more will be released again and again. I'm okay to take one for the team with the hopes others harassed by your firm will then come forward. This is what happens when you take all hope from someone. I am now your creation, Henry.

    You made my life a living hell... see you there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    calistrong (profile), 6 Aug 2015 @ 1:32pm

    Here's what's really going on here. Last week, these old Leto rumors resurfaced for the umpteenth time and were trending on Tumblr. He doesn't mind the big peen rumor-hell, he grabs his junk every night at his shows, taunting his little fan girls. It's the non-consensual and underage rumors that they are trying to (poorly) shut down. He's just about to finish filming the biggest film of his career and he, Warner Bros and DC Comics cannot afford to have these kinds of unsubstantiated rumors follow him. Unfortunately, I think this just made it worse. Most people outside his fanbase had never heard about any of this before today. He should have just ignored it like he's always done in the past. And, yeah, hire a better lawyer with all that Joker money, dude.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bark Lively, 6 Aug 2015 @ 3:50pm

    Allison

    Go back to your master, and have him beat you for not learning your lessons

    Tee hee

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aerilus, 6 Aug 2015 @ 4:05pm

    jered leto may or may not have a large penis but you sir most definitely have large testicles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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